With the VMAs and Affleck’s new Batman role dominating the headlines this week, 20th Century Fox is no doubt hoping to turn all of this press into box-office sales. With an all-star line-up (Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton) and a celebrity production list (including Leonardo DiCaprio) the film has some of the largest Hollywood names behind, that being said, a mid October release is one of the hardest in the industry, and Runner Runner will need more than Hollywood names in order to standout this year.
The film is about a Princeton grad student named Richie (Justin Timberlake), who believing he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront online gambling tycoon Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Richie is seduced by Block’s promise of immense wealth, until he learns the disturbing truth about his benefactor. When the FBI tries to coerce Richie to help bring down Block, Richie faces his biggest gamble ever: attempting to outmaneuver the two forces closing in on him.
Richie is chasing a new version of the American dream: easy, instant and limitless wealth. Once on the Wall Street fast track, Richie lost everything when the market crashed and is now starting over, hustling his way through graduate school. After being cheated by an online gambling site and watching his tuition money disappear, Richie flies to Costa Rica to confront the gambling legend behind the site: Ivan Block.
Block is impressed by Richie’s savvy and takes the younger man under his wing, promising to show Richie the ropes. Soon thereafter, Richie falls for Block’s associate –sophisticated COO Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton) – and he embraces a world that sees all of his fantasies come to life. But Richie soon learns that Block is wanted for racketeering, extortion and bribery, and that FBI Special Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie) is obsessed with bringing Block and his associates to justice. Block decides to pull up stakes and leave Richie behind as the fall guy. With Shavers closing in, Richie must figure out a way to stay a step ahead of Block and Shavers – or risk a future behind bars.
According to the American Gaming Association and leading gambling research firm H2 Gambling Capital, Americans spent $2.6 billion on illegal online gambling websites in 2012. In fact, Americans generate nearly 10 percent of the current $33 billion worldwide online gambling market, despite the fact that the U.S. government is doing everything in its power to crack down on illegal operators.
Illegal gambling websites operate in the shadows. They are not regulated by the United States government and lack consumer protections against cheating, money laundering and underage gambling. And they do little to promote responsible gaming.
According to the official press-release, “RUNNER RUNNER presents a cautionary tale of what can happen when these illegal operators are allowed to dominate the market as they do today.” Let us know what you think of the clip above, will Affleck and Timberlake together make Runner Runner a must see?